In your article “The Reestablishment of Khilaafah – The Basic Message and Call of the Hizb al-Tahrir“, you write in one of your footnotes:
The addition of the words “enjoining good and forbidding evil” after the words “Calls to virtue”, clearly evidences the fact that the recommended group is not to merely to propagate and disseminate the teachings of Islam, but also to extract obedience, in all such cases where the Shari`ah has allowed the extraction of obedience from people.
What is the scope of “extraction of obedience” allowed by the Shari`ah? Does it include practices such as in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, where people are forced even beaten to perform the Salaah? This, to me, seems to be in contradiction with “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Qur’an 2:256).
As should be apparent from the phrase “enjoining good and forbidding evil”, there are two aspects of ‘extracting obedience’. From the perspective of ‘enjoining good’, the state as the guardian of all its citizens should promote all that it considers ‘good’. Nevertheless, the Qur’an has restricted its scope of enforcing ‘good’ upon (or extracting obedience in the case of ‘good’ from) its Muslim citizens to two things only. The Qur’an says:
If they repent [and renounce ascribing partners to God] establish Sala’h and pay Zaka’h, then leave their way. (Al-Taubah 9: 5)
The phrase at the end of the verse “then leave their way” or “let them be”, clearly implies that, from a practical perspective, besides the establishment of Sala’h and the payment of Zaka’h, the state cannot ‘extract’ or enforce obedience upon its Muslim citizens in the case of any other ‘good’. As far as the implication of ‘extraction’ of obedience is concerned, it only means that a Muslim state can legally require its citizens to fulfill these two obligations, if they want to be considered as Muslims. It does not necessarily mean that the state can force any person into praying or can beat a person who does not offer prayers.
Thus, besides Sala’h and Zaka’h, the state cannot legally enforce any other ‘good’ upon its Muslim citizens.
From the perspective of ‘forbidding evil’ the scope of the state authority has no limits. Whatever is considered ‘evil’ – whether on the basis of any express directive of the Shari`ah or on the basis of common sense – can be legally disallowed and penalized in an Islamic state.
The phrase ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ relates to one’s choice of religion. No one can or should be compelled to become or to remain a Muslim. However, if one wants to become or to remain a Muslim, a Muslim state can implement the laws of the Shari`ah upon him.
I hope this helps.
August 29, 2001